Photo Information

A static display of typical suicide bomb vest devices is shown in the first conex box of the Mobile Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Interactive Trainer, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, recently.

Photo by Cpl. Damany Coleman

Troops get new way to beat IEDs

18 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Damany Coleman

Improvised explosive device and suicide attacks have been present since biblical times and are littered throughout history, even to this day. Unconventional warfare is nothing new.

In today’s conflicts, IEDs are the primary cause of troop casualties overseas and have proven to be one of the biggest challenges since Operation Iraqi Freedom and currently in Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Mobile Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Interactive Trainer, which falls under the Training Support Division, has been created aboard several military installations, most recently on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, to create an interactive training environment that helps better prepare service members for IED attacks, and move toward helping to more quickly develop a “sixth sense” in-theater.

The requirement for a new, more efficient counter-IED program was first stated by U.S. Central Command, in which the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization was tasked for the job.

Kurt Sobiesienski, the white cell leader with the MCIT, said the MCIT was simply an effective, interactive IED trainer.

“We’re fighting in an IED environment,” said Sobiesienski. “In Iraq and Afghanistan, we’re dealing with IEDs on a level we never have before.”

Sobiesienski added that there are identical MCITs in other locations including Camp Pendleton, Calif., Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and Fort Campbell, Ky.

However, all of the MCIT locations are identical and consists of a series of four modified 40’ Conex boxes, also known as CBs. Various units who complete the MCIT training go through the CBs in groups of six or seven, from CB1 to CB4.

The first CB drives home the fact that IEDs have been around for much longer than most people think and that current opposing forces are constantly devising new techniques to use them. It also includes four video stations, simulated hidden IEDs, a team-oriented knowledge and awareness test and IED display cases and knowledge boards.

The second CB is modeled after an Afghan bombmaker's residence and includes aspects of search training as well as component identification and emplacement tactics. It includes three video stations and a simulated insurgent homemade explosives room.

The modern technology and assets today’s forces are using to counter-IEDs are showcased in CB3. “We can win,” is the theme, and teaches lessons on how to defeat and defend troops from IED.

In the last unit, CB4, troops use simulators to assume the roles of being an insurgent ambush team as well as mounted patrol. This CB also includes four video stations, two more tests for the teams, instructions on situational reports, IED principles board and interactive Counter Remote Control Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare devices.

“We can do scenarios such as urban, rural and mountain environments,” said Sobiesienski. “It’s definitely one of the first steps in training troops in IEDs.”

So far, two units have gone through the MCB Camp Lejeune MCIT, with approximately 80 troops per day and six to seven in the CBs at one time.

The MCIT is located behind building 904, the Infantry Immersion Trainer, off Sneads Ferry Road.

To make unit reservations for the MCIT, contact the Training Support Division at 450-5126.